Written by Cindy Phong
Comfort in our failures allows us to act without fear, to engage without judgment, to love without conditions. It is like the dog that lets its tail go and realizes that it’s already a part of himself. Packing up my bags and spending the past four and a half months vagabonding throughout South Korea was the most challenging, yet rewarding decision I have ever made and I would never take it back. You learn a lot. About people, about the world, about life and most importantly you learn more about yourself. Sometimes lessons come at unwanted times and it will give you unwanted truths. Other times you learn things you can't unlearn and see things you can't un-see. Regardless, you will grow in ways that you can't learn until one goes beyond their home, and by beyond I mean a completely different country. So, here is what I have learned during my stay in Seoul.
Deadline extended to April 16th, 2018
Have you studied abroad? Has your journey abroad changed you in some way? What makes your study abroad experience unique? Tell us about your time abroad and be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card!
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It has been a year since I came back from Singapore but it feels like it was just yesterday that I arrived in Singapore, clueless, scared but ready to explore. I had no idea what to expect of the place, I just got on a plane excited to try something different. To think back to the semester before I left, I was initially indecisive about studying abroad. I would think about how it would affect my path in school, whether or not I can graduate on time or even family, but I can say that deciding to go was one of the best decisions I have made in life. Everyone asks me what are the highlights of your time abroad, what’s the most memorable or even describe it in a few words, but there really are no words to describe and neither is being able to choose highlights from a span of five months. Till this day I still have a hard time choosing the highlights or what was the most fascinating in Singapore.
Written by Anastasia Leindecker
As a senior graduating this semester, I can confidently say that studying abroad was the highlight of my collegiate experience. I made lifelong friends both in Hawaii and across the globe, found out more about myself as an individual, stepped out of my comfort zone and achieved a life long goal, and gained new perspectives and experiences that I would have never had otherwise.
Written by Jennifer Vehia Wheeler
Tahiti Nui is known for it's sparkling crystal blue waters as far as the eye can see, the lazy palm trees rustling in the wind and the white, fine sand that can be found beneath one's toes. And when you arrive on the island of Tahiti, these picturesque scenes truly live up to their reputation. As someone whose coming from Hawai'i and who's been to Tahiti several times, each time I arrive there, I am taken away by the beauty. The bright and flowery scenery around you is one-of-a-kind.
Written by James Rafanan, Jr.
So, regarding my first day arriving in Korea, although there were some small issues, it ended on a nice note, thankfully. The next day, I woke up eager to make today count as my first full day in Korea. I went downstairs with my roommate, whom I got acquainted with the night before, in preparation to finish our dormitory check-in process at 9 am. However, we went down a bit early to eat some breakfast at the cafeteria first. This was our first meal at the Blue Mir Hall cafeteria, and I was oddly excited about this. This cafeteria was located directly inside of the dormitory, and literally ten feet away from the entrance to the male dorms in building 308 so it was even more convenient. Greeting us at the entrance of the cafeteria was a giant touchscreen that was used for the meal ticket purchases. We were a bit confused at first, but then a GLAM came over to help us. A GLAM, short for GLobal AMbassador, was one of the many designated local Korean students who worked for the Office of International Affairs at Chung-Ang University, and we got to meet them through a buddy system. We weren’t officially acquainted with them yet, but my roommate and I were grateful that they were considerate enough to notice that we needed some help.
Written by Jeremy Jimenez
I can’t begin to describe what I have experienced here in South Korea, my first time off the continental North America (besides Hawaiʻi of course). I remember first being slightly nervous but way more excited to go abroad; I wanted to experience people and culture completely different than my own. I bought my ticket for my flight, sat on the plane from SFO to ICN and 11 hours later, here I was: the beautiful country of South Korea.
I honestly had no idea what to expect first getting off the plane. My excitement was greater than my fear in the beginning and Iʻm happy to say my curiosity continued throughout the semester. I remember walking through Incheon Airport looking for the subway to take towards Seoul National University; later I found out 서울대 입구 역 is not the actual entrance to the university but 3 kilometers away. The inside joke between SNU students I now share is just one of many things I am able to look back and reminisce on. Whether it was the many meals I shared in the cafeteria after class with my friends or taking the bus/subway to Hongdae to enjoy Seoul’s nightlife with other university students at different schools, I will cherish all the memories I made.
Written by Emma Moore
We started the trip like every epic adventure starts, with complications. I always say “It isn’t an adventure unless something is going wrong.” First of all, I completely spaced on the fact that one usually needs a credit card to rent a car, so we were almost car-less if it wasn’t for our mom coming to the rescue and giving us permission to use her card information (thanks again Mom). Then, when we were three hours into our drive to a remote camp spot on Lake Tekapo, I realized that I forgot the sleeping bag that I had borrowed for my sister to use. But of course I brought everything else you could possibly think of, including things we didn’t need (except for the chocolate, we needed that). I just forgot the one thing that would provide my sister warmth during the negative degree nights. Luckily enough, we made an amazing friend at our campground that night who had an extra sleeping bag.
The next day, we awoke to a colorful sunrise over a secluded lake surrounded by vibrant autumn trees and cried tears of joy over the beauty that we had woken up to. After a gourmet breakfast of hot cross buns and peanut butter, we drove off with our wonderful new friend Lucy on an adventure to Mt. Cook National Park, where our jaws dropped at the land that surrounded us. We ended up doing a few different hikes and having a dance-off with these three Australian brothers on a swing bridge. This led us to a fun night of drinking boxed wine and belting out Elton John’s “Rocket Man”.
Written by Alexis Panoncillo